chapter  19
17 Pages

The Case of the Robust Press

New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
WithMelvin I. Urofsky

Full-page advertisements are political in nature, endorsing candidates for public office or urging support for particular positions, and may often include a request for funds to further the cause. Such an ad appeared in the New York Times at the end of March 1960, and asked readers to send in money to help civil rights activists in their struggle to end racial segregation in the South. Although he considered himself a political moderate, Merton Roland Nachman, like many others in the South, felt increasingly frustrated by the attention northern newspapers like the Times gave to the actions of what he considered a radical minority causing all the trouble. The civic culture of Montgomery, therefore, was already under considerable stress when the New York Times published a full-page ad, titled “Heed Their Rising Voices,” on March 29, 1960.